“From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free ” ~ Jacques Cousteau, Steve Mussman’s favorite quote
In the Dive Industry “we need to use our influence to impact new divers.” Steve Mussman is the owner of Sea Lab Diving in Atlanta and he has been turning scuba diving into sustainable diving. “I have a handout Divers Become Part of the Solution that I give to my students telling how divers can be part of the solution. I think I am having an impact…We need to take a pro-active approach, people are too smart, they know what is going on, and if they don’t know then it is our responsibility to enlighten them. I don’t see it as a business killer.” Steve is certainly aware that if we fly off to an exotic location we are using fossil fuels, however, he believes that there are everyday sustainable choices that we can make to save the ocean, he calls them “ocean friendly decisions. We know that we have an impact and I don’t think the industry should be afraid to confront it. Listen to the experts and if you do, there is only one conclusion.”
“If we can just accept what is going on and lead our students, it could really make a difference.”
Steve says “These scientists normally don’t get on the soapbox” they don’t consider themselves ocean activists, “but at the same time they are so concerned about what is happening. The role that I see myself in, is as an agitator provoking scientists to speak out. Dive instructors and dive shop owners have credibility with our students and clients. If we can just accept what is going on and lead our students, it could really make a difference.”
“Climate Change is not a political issue but it has become an ideological issue, divers are a cross section of society and I think the dive industry is a little fearful that if they take a position they will alienate a segment of their potential consumers.” Steve says that in 2012, the Coral Reef Symposium came out with a position statement on climate change and its effects on coral reef ecosystems. “I thought when I read it that this was the Holy Grail and surely the diving industry would look at this, accept it and adjust their positions as a result, but that is not what I have seen. I have seen resistance, perhaps its ideological, perhaps a business decision, perhaps fear but what I see is a paralysis rather than a movement within our industry.”
“The more we get word out … it will rise like a wave in the dive travel industry…it won’t be from the top down it will be from the bottom up”
“It’s time to speak out, to fight for it, we have the right on our side and I think that eventually we will prevail. It’s easy to do, it doesn’t cost money; I see nothing but positives. I can’t imagine not doing these things. The more we get word out, the more it will rise like a wave in the dive travel industry. If it won’t be from the top down it will be from the bottom up and eventually leadership will have no choice but to get with the program. I don’t think that it has alienated my consumers but inspired them.”
Steve Mussman was born and raised on Boston harbor where a connection to the ocean developed early on while boating, fishing and experimenting with scuba as a teenager. He’s traveled extensively, taught high school and has owned and operated Sea Lab Diving in the Atlanta area since 1985.
Sea Lab differentiates itself by emphasizing an ecological approach to diving that focuses on promoting a better understanding of the many issues affecting marine ecosystems. Sea Lab introduces all its students to topics such as coral reef ecology, whale/dolphin captivity, shark finning and sustainable seafood. Sea Lab believes divers have a unique and inherent responsibility to help keep our oceans blue and wild.
“I don’t know any dive professionals that got into the business for any reason other than they love the ocean and marine environments.”
“I don’t know any dive professionals that got into the business for any reason other than they love the ocean and marine environments. That makes us natural advocates for the issues we are talking about.”
Steve Mussman feels passionately about the ocean environment he loves and has enjoyed for many years. He is aware of the serious ocean issues we face and has many thoughtful suggestions on how to become ocean change-makers and protect what we love. Listen to all of Steve’s interview at Blue Ocean Summit 2014: Steve Mussman and visit Steve Mussman’s Sea Lab Diving.
Another of our Blue Ocean experts that is addressing the theme of “Traveling Towards Sustainability” is Dr. Alex Brylske. Alex’s first dives were in the 1960’s when the coral reefs he saw were in pristine condition. Over the past 50 years he has witnessed their deterioration and regards this as an indication of the decline in the health of the oceans. Alex discusses the serious environmental issue of climate change and its impact on our coral reef eco-systems. He knows that divers and the dive industry can help focus the public’s attention on these issues by becoming Ocean Ambassadors and encouraging the consumer to make sustainable choices and to patronize those businesses that practice environmental sustainability.
Alex knows of what he speaks and he will share what he knows with you, see his entire article “Beyond ‘Responsible Diver’: The Ocean Reality Check” at: Ocean Profiles: Dr. Alex Brylske